According to PW Insider’s Mike Johnson, the 33-year-old indie wrestling veteran an former EVOLVE tag team champion, Joe Gacy, will be headed to WWE with a developmental contract, joining Curt Stallion, Anthony Greene, Brandi Lauren, Josh Briggs, and referee Jake Clemons, all of whom were reported as new signees on Monday, August 31st. Stallion, Greene, Lauren, Briggs, Clemons and Joe Gacy, will be joining Leon Ruff as former EVOLVE Wrestling talents to have signed with WWE, with Ruff having been reported to have signed about a month ago.
Known mostly for his time in Combat Zone Wrestling, where he is currently in the midst of his third reign as world heavyweight champion, Gacy is a 14-year wrestling veteran. The New Jersey native began his career at the CZW Academy where he received early training under Jon Dahmer and DJ Hyde. He has spent parts of all 14 years wrestling for CZW, where he is a six time champion, as well as numerous other independent wrestling promotions including EVOLVE, which Joe Gacy first joined in 2018.
In parts of three years with EVOLVE, Joe Gacy wrestled 30 matches, many of which were as a member of the Unwanted, a faction that also featured Eddie Kingston, Sean Maluta, Natalia Markova, Shane Strickland, and Colby Corino. Alongside Kingston, Joe Gacy is a former EVOLVE tag team champion, enjoying a reign that lasted 120 days. This win marked Gacy’s 17th career title, a number that now is up to 20.
Considered by many to be one of the best independent wrestlers not signed to a major, the immensely talented Gacy now becomes the third member of CZW’s Switchblade Conspiracy to join the WWE ranks, following in the footsteps of Jon Moxley and Sami Callihan before him. A brawler by nature, Gacy excelled in the hardcore, violent environment of CZW, where he became a fan favorite during his time there.
Wrestling just a handful of matches per year in his early career, Gacy’s profile began to rise in 2015, when he started to expand his reach and become a well known name. A staple in the Northeast indie scene, in addition to CZW and EVOLVE, Joe Gacy has wrestled for NWA, New York Wrestling Connection, XCite Wrestling, Game Changer Wrestling, Groundbreaking Wrestling, East Coast Wrestling Association, MCW Pro, and much more.
“The Lone Star” Curt Stallion has long been one of the top independent wrestling names to watch. A seven-year veteran wrestling out of Texas, Stallion began his career with the NWA, before landing with Anarchy Championship Wrestling in 2015. It was Anarchy that Stallion won his first career title, the Unified Championship, a belt he held for 84 days. Calling ACW home for the next three years, Stallion also began to expand his presence outside of the Texas indie scene and into the Midwest, debuting for IWA-MS, Saint Louis Anarchy, the Wrestling Revolver, AAW, and more.
In 2015, Stallion landed a brief stint with Ring of Honor, where he wrestled four matches including one against ROH’s Kingdom. He returned to the promotion for a handful of matches between 2016-18, including taking part in the Top Prospect Tournament in 2017, where he advanced to the semifinal.
A career four-time champion throughout various indies, Stallion debuted with EVOLVE Wrestling in 2018 and became a full-time member of their roster a year later. Recently coming to call EVOLVE home, Stallion wrestled 28 matches for the promotion over the next two years, picking up some big victories against Matt Sydal, Anthony Greene, Eddie Kingston, Orange Cassidy, and more. While not victorious in these matches, Stallion was also chosen to receive several of the NXT showcase matches, taking on established WWE rostered talent in Matt Riddle, Cameron Grimes, Austin Theory, Dexter Lumis, Mansoor, and Kassius Ohno. It was clear then that Stallion was someone WWE had their eyes on. With WWE purchasing EVOLVE leading the promotion shutting down earlier this year, it’s no surprise that Stallion is one of the wrestlers headed to WWE/NXT.
Massachusetts’ “Retrosexual,” Anthony “AG” Greene, began his wrestling career training under Ryan Waters, Spike Dudley, and Brian Fury in 2012. A current champion in Limitless Wrestling and World Xtreme Wrestling, the 27-year-old Greene spent his early years wrestling in the Northeast, particularly with Northeast Championship Wrestling, Top Rope Promotions, Chaotic Wrestling, Beyond Wrestling, and Northeast Wrestling among others. It was Top Rope, where Greene, alongside tag team partner, Mikey Webb, won his first career title in 2014. He’s won 14 titles overall.
In 2015, Greene continued to make a name for himself when he made his ROH debut. He would return to the promotion three years later for Global Wars 2018. A year prior, Greene made his CZW debut, a promotion he went on to win the world title for, though his reign lasted less than a day. The charismatic star with in-ring ability to match, Greene’s true breakout year came in 2019 when he wrestled 124 matches, the most of his career by far. This included promotions such as Beyond, his home promotion at the time, as well as CZW, CW, Limitless and EVOLVE, where he had debuted a year earlier in a dark match.
By 2019, Greene was a full-fledged member of the EVOLVE roster, where he picked up wins over Leon Ruff, Babatunde, and fierce rivals, Josh Briggs, and Curt Stallion. Greene also got a chance to wrestle NXT talent such as his match against Tyler Breeze at EVOLVE 130, Mansoor, and Rik Bugez.
A fellow Massachusian, the just four-year pro Josh Briggs, made a huge impact in a short period of time. Trained by Brian Fury and Mike Hollow, the 6’8 Briggs began his career with Chaotic Wrestling, which he called his home promotion for the first three years of his career and where he won his first title, the New England Championship in 2017. Known for his time in the New England scene, Briggs also wrestled for NCW, Beyond, Limitless and NEW in his first few years on the scene.
With the look, ability and size of someone who is destined to be a star, it wasn’t surprising when EVOLVE discovered the rising star in 2018. Along with CW and Beyond, EVOLVE became a home promotion for Briggs and he quickly became one of their focal points as the well. The last man to hold the EVOLVE Championship prior to WWE purchasing the company, Briggs needed just about a year before claiming the title, which he still is on record as holding, nearly 300 days later.
In his EVOLVE career, Briggs picked up wins over Chris Dickinson, Jason Kincaid, Leon Ruff, Angelo Dawkins, Darby Allin, AR Fox, Anthony Greene, JD Drake and more. Like his colleagues above, Briggs also received several WWE showcase matches, most notably against WALTER at EVOLVE 142, Kassius Ohno at EVOLVE 128, 135, and 137 and Dexter Lumis at EVOLVE 144, with the title on the line.
Just 23 years old, Brandi Lauren has been wrestling for about four years. Also known under the ring name, Ava Storie, Lauren began her career in 2016 where she was trained by Jay Lethal. Lauren’s career began with promotions including American Combat Wrestling, where she is currently in her second reign as women’s champion, and SHINE, where she has wrestled for each of her four-plus years on the scene.
In 2017, Lauren received her first big breakout, debuting for ROH and wrestling full-time for TNA, where she faced the likes of Taya, Rosemary, Laurel Van Ness, Angelina Love, and Brandi Rhodes to name a few. Having made her WWE debut a year before in 2018, it wasn’t until 2019, when she joined EVOLVE, that Lauren started to become somewhat of a household name. An active member of the stable the “In Crowd,” with Harlem Bravado, Jessi Kamea, and of course Anthony Greene, who she was involved with as his manager almost from day one.
Lauren wrestled just 14 matches in her EVOLVE career but in doing so she picked up some pretty big victories over talent including NXT’s Shotzi Blackheart.
A longtime referee with EVOLVE, Smash Wrestling, Absolute Intense Wrestling, and more, Jake Clemons made his WWE debut as the crooked referee who cost Kevin Owens his match against Randy Orton on the February 25th episode of Raw due to a fast count. It was revealed after the match that Clemons was working for Seth Rollins and he was power bombed through a table by Owens for his troubles.
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